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The African American Caucus

Written by Peter Grear, Esq. on 13 March 2014.

John Travis Holt Vote ID Educate, Organize and Mobilize: This past Saturday, March 8, 2014, I was invited to present and overview on voter suppression to the Pitt County African American Caucus of the Democratic Party.  I was pleased to accept the invitation and make a presentation.  There were several very important revelations that I came away with.  I was joined by Patricia Ferguson, my co-leader of the campaign to defeat voter suppression and chair of the Bertie County African American Caucus.  Patricia addressed our campaign’s Resolution to Defeat Voter Suppression and, in an aside, offered an insightful observation to our small attentive audience.  She said it is not the size of the audience that is important, but the size of networks that the audience represents.  It is important that we are all mindful of this observation as we grow our campaign.  

During my presentation I told the audience that we’ve been doing similar presentations since the enactment of the so called, Voter Information Verification Act of 2013.  Of course we always remind our audiences that the more appropriate name for the law is the Voter Suppression Act of 2013.  Obviously the leadership of the Pitt County Caucus was in attendance as well as the Chair of the Eastern Regional Caucus.  However, also in attendance was Jaymes Powell, Jr., the Vice-President for Communications for the African American Caucus of the North Carolina Democratic Party (AAC-NCDP).  He’s quite talented but needs a lot of help to succeed in the mobilization of the many threatened citizens sitting idly by, unaware of this, the greatest threat to our Civil Rights in over 50 years.  Two things about him revealed to me that he’s the right person for the task, if we help him.  He knows Black History, world and U.S, and he knows Information Technology.

John Travis Holt - profile image

As in all of my presentations, I explained to the audience, how after almost 40 years of political organizing in North Carolina and fighting voter suppression every step along the way, I really couldn’t define voter suppression and in too many instances didn’t know it when I saw it.  So I did what I always do, I referred them, and I refer you, to Wikipedia.com for a definition and description of voter suppression that is essential if you’re to know it when you see it, which is necessary if you intend to help defeat it.  I also asked my audiences to look around them and attest to the fact that young people are not amongst us and that if they’re to be reached we’ll have to reach them on Facebook and through some other social media.  Of course this is one of the strengths of Jaymes, who agreed with my assessment that the social media component, AAC-NCDP was missing.  During my presentation we talked about many other things that revealed the deep interest in mobilizing our campaign to defeat voter suppression.

After our meeting about seven of us, including Jaymes went to a local restaurant to continue planning our efforts.  Not surprisingly, much of our attention was paid to the history of race, World and U.S., and the challenges that blacks have endured at the hands of white supremacist.  

Of course I contend that voter suppression is a historical component of white supremacy and that neither can be properly understood without a certain amount of historical knowledge and context.  For part of the required knowledge and context I recommended, and recommend Hidden Colors and “Twelve years a slave”, both out on DVDs.  In discussing white supremacy, we discussed the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Koch Brothers funded think-tank that is at the heart of creating model white supremacist legislation that is being introduced and passed by republican controlled legislatures in states around the country. We discussed Democracy.com, (See link No. 5 below) where many of the Caucus chapters have started dedicated web pages that they use for educating and organizing.  As many of you know, I’ve been doing commentaries on voter suppression since mid-November 2013 and was very pleased to know that they felt my commentaries would serve as valuable educational content for their sites.  

We talked about our campaign mantra (Educate, organize and mobilize) as the necessary strategy to bring our communities together in a unified effective campaign.  Part of the advice I received during our discussion was to start tweeting my stories, and as soon as I get a better understanding of Twitter I’ll provide instructions on how to follow me.  All in all, I would say that all of us received an enlightening education in Greenville and the best part of it is that we’re going to grow and share together.

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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on voter suppression.  To join the campaign to defeat voter suppression please “Like” and follow us at www.facebook.com/votersuppression, “Share” our articles, and your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our website www.GreaterDiversity.com.  Also, to promote the campaign to defeat voter suppression, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to follow the above-referenced recommendations. Additionally, please follow us on Twitter at @yourrighttovote.